How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet [Inc. Oil-Based or Latex Paint]

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Removing paint from carpeting may seem impossible at times, especially if the paint has dried into the carpet’s fibers. However, with the right materials in a bit of persistence, you can effectively lift the paint from your carpet and avoid having to replace it or patch it up. In this post, we will cover how to remove both wet and dried paint from carpeting.

Here are a couple of ways to get paint out of your carpet:

Method 1: Cleaning up Wet Paint

1. Determine the current state of the paint
2. Scoop it up with a putty knife
3. Blot the paint
4. Apply removal solution
5. Blot the stained area
6. Dry the treated area

Method 2: Cleaning up Dried Paint

1. Loosen the paint
2. Scrape the dried paint with a putty knife
3. Apply steam to the stain
4. Apply acetone
5. Dry the treated area

Continue reading to learn about how to remove wet and dried paint from carpeting.

Light gray colored huge living room with a fireplace and carpet, How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet [Inc. Oil-Based or Latex Paint]

Method 1: Cleaning up Wet Paint

Different colored folded carpets

Tools and materials you’ll need (for both methods):

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Paint cleaners
  • Scrub brushes
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Putty knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Acetone
  • Paint remover
  • White towels or cleaning cloths
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Utility knife
  • Dish soap

1. Determine the current state of the paint

Determining the paint’s current state is the first step to deciding which method will be best for its removal. You’ll also need to confirm whether the paint is a latex or water-based paint or if it’s an oil-based paint. Latex paints have a very faint odor in comparison to oil-based paints, and they will generally be a little easier to remove. Also, before working on the task, be sure to open a window to help minimize the level of fumes in the space that you’re working in (or open a door for a little ventilation).

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2. Scoop it up with a putty knife

If the paint is still wet, you’ll have a better chance of collecting most of it–if you remove it immediately. Take your putty knife and carefully scoop up any paint sitting on top of the carpet’s fibers. Make sure that you don’t smear the paint onto other areas of the carpet. You can also use paper towels to wipe off your putty knife between scrapes if you have a large spill.

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3. Blot the paint

Next, use a cleaning cloth or a paper towel to quickly blot up any remaining paint. Be sure not to smear the paint from side to side, but instead tap gently on the carpet in a swift motion. You also don’t want to press too deeply as you blot, or you may push the paint deeper into the fibers of the carpet. Be sure to turn the sides of the cleaning cloth or paper towel as not to get fresh paint on the surrounding areas of the carpet.

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4. Apply removal solution

Now it’s time to apply your paint removal solution. If you are working with oil-based paint, you can use soapy water from dish soap, citrus-based solvents, paint thinner, or turpentine to further lift the stain from the carpet. You can also use these solutions for latex paint, in addition to vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide.

The application process will be the same for the most part, except for the amount of time that the solution you need to sit on the carpet (stronger solutions will require less time). If you’re using dish soap, you can use a clean cloth to immediately work the soapy water into the carpet’s fibers.

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5. Blott stained area

Continue to blot the paint using your clean cloth so that the solution breaks up the paint. Be sure to use different cleaning cloths if they become saturated with paint, as not to re-stain the carpet. You’ll want to keep doing this until the paint is completely removed from the carpet. If the stain remains, you’ll need to repeat the process or use a stronger solution (if you’re using dish soap).

6. Dry the treated area

After you have effectively removed the stain from the carpet, take a clean damp cloth or paper towels to blot the treated area to remove the solution from the carpet. Next, use dry cleaning cloths or paper towels to dry the area and soak up any remaining moisture from the carpet’s fibers. It’s best not to allow any traffic on the treated area until the carpet has completely dried, which may take anywhere from four hours to twenty-four hours, depending on the stain.

Quick tips for removing wet paint:

  • When removing wet paint from carpeting, be sure always to wipe inward, as not to spread the stain further on the carpet.
  • Always keep a watchful eye when applying paint removal solution to the carpet, as you don’t want to leave it on it any longer than necessary.
  • Be sure to use a damp cloth when removing any solutions to the carpet to avoid stains or lingering smells from the solution once the carpet has been cleaned and dried.

Method 2. Cleaning up Dried Paint

1. Loosen the paint

Before you can remove dried paint, you will first need to re-wet it by saturating it with either a paint thinner, solution (i.e., vinegar, acetone, alcohol, turpentine), or soapy water. To help soften the paint, dip a cleaning cloth in the solution and run it over the stained area multiple times, blotting it so that the carpet’s fibers absorb the solution. You can also pour the solution into a spray bottle apply it liberally to the stained area. Depending on the solution, you want to let it sit on the stained area for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

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2. Scrape the dried paint with a putty knife

After you have allowed the solution to set, take your putty knife, and scrape up any excess paint from the carpet’s fibers. Be sure to use a sweeping and lifting motion so that you won’t get paint on the surrounding areas of the carpet. You may need to apply more solvent as you scrape away the paint and notice areas where the paint still hasn’t lifted. Be sure to keep a cleaning cloth or paper towels handy to blot the areas as you scrape away the loosened paint. Always scrape from the stain’s outer edges towards the center.

3. Apply steam to the stain

If you have a stubborn or large paint stain, you may need to apply steam to help lift it from the carpet. To do this, you can use your clothes iron. When using the iron, be sure that there is enough water to provide steam. Next, hold it over the stained area (around 1-2 inches) and press the steam button multiple times to get a continual steam flow onto the treated area.

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4. Apply Acetone

If the steam does not help lift all of the paint from the carpet, you can also try acetone. Before working with acetone, be sure to throw on a pair of rubber gloves to avoid skin irritation. Use a dry cloth or paper towel to blot the treated area with the acetone solution–apply it liberally until the stain begins to lift. Keep your putty knife at your side to scrape away the loosened paint as it lips from the carpet.

5. Dry the treated area

Once the stain has lifted, use a damp cleaning cloth or paper towels to remove any solution from the carpet’s treated area (leaving it can cause another stain). Continue to blot the carpet until the solution and excess moisture are gone. Next, take a dry cleaning cloth or paper towels and blot until the carpet is only mildly damp. Once you’ve finished, try to keep the area traffic-free until the carpet completely dries, which can take anywhere from four hours to twenty-four hours.

Quick tips for removing dried paint:

  • The better you saturate dampen the dried paint, the easier it will be to remove.
  • You can also use a pin or needle to pick at the carpet’s stained areas to help loosen up the paint.
  • Always use white cleaning cloths or paper towels when removing dried paint, as you don’t want to dye the carpeting accidentally.

Will Mineral Spirits Remove Dried Paint From Carpet?

Yes, spirits such as turpentine, distilled alcohol, acetone, and lacquer can all be used to help loosen up dried paint or thin wet paint to remove it from various surfaces.

Can Carpet Cleaners Remove Paint?

Yes, many carpet cleaners sold on the market today can effectively remove paint from carpeting. However, they typically work better on wet paint and smaller stains.

How Does Rubbing Alcohol Remove Paint From Carpet?

Rubbing alcohol liquefies old paint, breaking it up and making it easy to lift from a carpet’s fabrics.

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Does Goof Off Work On Carpet?

Yes, Goof Off is known to remove both oil and latex-based paints from carpeting effectively. It can also be used to help loosen and lift dried paint.

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Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has introduced you to a couple of methods to use when removing wet and dry paint from carpeting. Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

17 Types Of Painting Rollers

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Room [By Room Size]

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